Marc Holmes

Name: Marc Holmes
Position/Occupation: Director, Bay Restoration program
Agency: The Bay Institute (TBI)
September 2017

Marc Holmes began his career when he walked in to volunteer at the local chapter of the Sierra Club and met Chicken (David) Nesmith. Chicken took him under his wing, and was truly inspirational. Marc attributes it to “luck’ that they crossed paths when they did.

He has worked for TBI for 19 years as Director of their Bay Restoration program. The goal of the program is to restore as many of the former tidal marshes of San Francisco Bay as possible – well over 100,000 acres. “Of course,” he adds, “accomplishing that goal can only be done in collaboration with dozens of other NGOs and government agencies that share it. That’s where the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture comes in,” and Marc certainly has had a long tenure with the SFBJV, serving as one of our founders over 20 years ago, and remaining a steadfast Management Board member, while also acting as Chair of our Conservation Delivery Committee and Implementation Plan Revision team member. “It’s the best place to keep up-to-date on the latest information regarding opportunities for wetland restoration, as well as threats to wetland protection.”

When asked about a typical day at TBI, Marc says there is none. What he does note is a unifying principle that has held him there for almost two decades – “a constant vigilance to threats and persistence in keeping the public engaged in defending the ecological vitality of the estuary.” He believes the biggest threat to the estuary is development met with ignorance and complacency. “NGOs like The Bay Institute, and others, are the first line of defense against this kind of peril. They are the Davids standing up to the Goliaths of development interests that see the estuary as a cash (sea)cow.”

Marc’s greatest satisfaction over the years has come from meeting and learning from hundreds of self-effacing citizens, like Chicken, who dedicate their lives to defending and restoring the estuary – not for personal gain, but because it must be done for civilization to survive. He mentions others by name – Florence and Phil LaRiviere, Janice and Frank Delfino, Doris Sloan, Arthur Feinstein, Barbara Salzman – and then says “there are too many! These are my heroes, and should be yours, too. Turn off your television and learn about these people. They know how we need to conduct our lives in order to create a humane and just society, as well as how to be truly fulfilled.”

In his free time, Marc likes to be outdoors with his wife Jen, in unadulterated nature. “There is a surprising amount of it left in California, but it is going fast. Do what you can to reverse that trend.”